Google is beating Apple to releasing a wireless charger.
The Pixel Stand, announced Tuesday, is a wireless charger designed for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. However, it also packs some neat software customizations. You can pre-order the Pixel Stand now for $79.
Sure, it can handle fast charging (through the Qi standard) and will prop your phone up. However, it also brings many of the Google Home Hub features to your phone. When the Pixel 3 is docked, a new user interface will take over that enlarges fonts and graphics – allowing you to see it from across the room.
With the microphones built into the Pixel 3, you can use the Google Assistant in a similar fashion to the Home smart speakers. There will also be prompts for quick actions that you can tap to start. Google also says the front-facing speakers should make for a great listening experience, but we will have to wait to test that.
Like the Google Home Hub, the Pixel Stand can make your phone a viewfinder for the Nest Hello doorbell. As a live feed will take over the Pixel 3 screen allowing you to see who is there.
When you’re not using it as a Google Assistant device, Pixel Stand can pull images from Google Photos and act as a digital photo frame. The Pixel Stand also aims to make mornings a little easier. If you use the Pixel 3 as an alarm clock, it will adjust the screen color to match a sunrise, which Google says will make waking up more pleasant. (Although who here thinks a nice yellow hue will make you feel any better about waking up when you just want to sleep for 10 more minutes?)
Verizon is offering a free Pixel Stand if you pre-order a Pixel 3 by end-of-day Tuesday. But if you want the deal, there’s an annoying catch. You have to order it from the My Verizon app.
At $79.99, the Pixel Stand is not cheap and costs more than a typical wireless charger. Google is hoping that an ergonomic design and smart features will make it worth it.